Charles Pope still has no idea that he is the son of Lord Edmund Bellasis and Sophia Trenchard. Even though Lady Brockenhurst has taken a surprising liking to him, Charles doesn’t have a clue about his true identity. HollywoodLife spoke EXCLUSIVELY with Belgravia star Jack Bardoe about Charles Pope’s journey in the episodes to come. He revealed Charles will be “tested” in more ways than one, and that includes his relationship with Lady Maria Grey. Charles and Maria have an undeniable connection, but she is still engaged to another man.
Jack also discussed how he thinks Charles would react to learning about his real identity and the fact that James and Anne have kept it a secret from him all these years. His answer may surprise you. Jack talked about tackling the role of Charles Pope, his first-ever TV role, and the most challenging part about immersing himself in the 1800s. New episodes of Belgravia air Sundays at 8 p.m. on EPIX. Check out our full Q&A below.
Do you think Charles has any inkling that Lady Brockenhurst has ulterior motives in wanting to invest in his business?
Jack Bardoe: I think he’s almost intentionally blissfully unaware of Lady Brockenhurst’s ulterior motives as he’s far too distracted by the exciting possibilities it opens up in his business. I think he feels incredibly lucky to have been noticed by her and, subsequently, she has taken a liking to him. He is, therefore, all the more determined to prove her right in backing him. He must occasionally wonder why she has taken such an interest in him but why look a gift horse in the mouth?
James Trenchard almost told Charles who he is, but he stopped himself. How do you think Charles would handle it if he knew James had been keeping such a secret from him?
Jack Bardoe: It would obviously come as a tremendous shock to Charles to learn the extent of this history he is so intimately involved in but, I don’t think he would feel angry or deceived. Charles is intelligent and understanding, he would empathize with James’ reasons for keeping him in the dark and, in the end, be glad to know. It would bring them closer.
Do you think Charles would be able to forgive James, Anne, and Lady Brockenhurst for keeping the secret about his identity?
Jack Bardoe: I think he would definitely be able to forgive them. He would understand the difficulties and sensitivities surrounding the circumstances of his birth. There would obviously be a sadness in knowing he has been kept from having a relationship with his grandparents, but I think he would see the necessity of the painful compromise that was decided. After all, they gave him away to a loving family that cared for him and brought him up well. Arguably the people who suffered the most from the secret were James and Anne, not Charles.
The first 3 episodes are clearly building to an eventual reveal. What can you tease about what lies ahead for Charles in the episodes to come?
Jack Bardoe: What I can say is that you can look forward to seeing Charles tested as the story continues. His heart will begin to pull him in one direction and his head in another.
Charles and Maria obviously have a strong connection. What can you say about where their relationship goes from here since she’s engaged?
Jack Bardoe: I think the strength of Maria’s engagement and the forces that support it will be made clear and put to the test.
Do you think Charles is willing to risk it all for love?
Jack Bardoe: Only time will tell…
This is your first TV role, why was the role of Charles Pope one you wanted to take on?
Jack Bardoe: It was an incredible opportunity not only to work with actors I have been watching and admiring for years but also to take on a character that finds himself right in the middle of this wonderfully crafted story. Playing a central role in a costume drama is an unbelievable privilege I was very fortunate to be offered. In many ways it was art imitating life, Charles can’t believe his luck – and neither could I!
What was the most challenging aspect of stepping back into the 1800s?
Jack Bardoe: For me, it’s all the small things we take for granted. How do you say hello when you walk into a room? Do you shake hands? Do you bow? How do you use cutlery? How do you walk with a cane? And when the hell am I supposed to take off my hat? Etiquette is complex but, of course, must appear entirely natural on screen. Thankfully, there were historians on set to help with that kind of thing. But it was definitely tricky!
Why do you think fans are so drawn to Julian Fellowes’ work?
Jack Bardoe: He is able to create such vivid worlds from such distant times that feel both alien and familiar all at once. It plays on the natural fascination we all have with our history and the worlds our ancestors inhabited. He is able to write such well-formed characters that we love to follow and get behind but that nonetheless feel utterly planted in this different historical context. His stories are full of wit and humour but are also anchored with a tremendous humanity we can all identify with.